'Total return is the amount of value an investor earns from a security over a specific period, typically one year, when all distributions are reinvested. Total return is expressed as a percentage of the amount invested. For example, a total return of 20% means the security increased by 20% of its original value due to a price increase, distribution of dividends (if a stock), coupons (if a bond) or capital gains (if a fund). Total return is a strong measure of an investmentâ€™s overall performance.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the total return of 78.7% in the last 5 years of Vanguard 500 Index Fund, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (78.4%)
- Compared with SPY (44.1%) in the period of the last 3 years, the total return of 44.5% is higher, thus better.

'Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is a business and investing specific term for the geometric progression ratio that provides a constant rate of return over the time period. CAGR is not an accounting term, but it is often used to describe some element of the business, for example revenue, units delivered, registered users, etc. CAGR dampens the effect of volatility of periodic returns that can render arithmetic means irrelevant. It is particularly useful to compare growth rates from various data sets of common domain such as revenue growth of companies in the same industry.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the annual performance (CAGR) of 12.3% in the last 5 years of Vanguard 500 Index Fund, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (12.3%)
- During the last 3 years, the annual performance (CAGR) is 13%, which is larger, thus better than the value of 12.9% from the benchmark.

'Volatility is a statistical measure of the dispersion of returns for a given security or market index. Volatility can either be measured by using the standard deviation or variance between returns from that same security or market index. Commonly, the higher the volatility, the riskier the security. In the securities markets, volatility is often associated with big swings in either direction. For example, when the stock market rises and falls more than one percent over a sustained period of time, it is called a 'volatile' market.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (19.9%) in the period of the last 5 years, the historical 30 days volatility of 20.3% of Vanguard 500 Index Fund is larger, thus worse.
- Looking at historical 30 days volatility in of 23.6% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to SPY (23.1%).

'The downside volatility is similar to the volatility, or standard deviation, but only takes losing/negative periods into account.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Looking at the downside volatility of 14.8% in the last 5 years of Vanguard 500 Index Fund, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (14.6%)
- Compared with SPY (16.9%) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside volatility of 17.2% is higher, thus worse.

'The Sharpe ratio (also known as the Sharpe index, the Sharpe measure, and the reward-to-variability ratio) is a way to examine the performance of an investment by adjusting for its risk. The ratio measures the excess return (or risk premium) per unit of deviation in an investment asset or a trading strategy, typically referred to as risk, named after William F. Sharpe.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The Sharpe Ratio over 5 years of Vanguard 500 Index Fund is 0.48, which is smaller, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (0.49) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (0.45) in the period of the last 3 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) of 0.45 is greater, thus better.

'The Sortino ratio measures the risk-adjusted return of an investment asset, portfolio, or strategy. It is a modification of the Sharpe ratio but penalizes only those returns falling below a user-specified target or required rate of return, while the Sharpe ratio penalizes both upside and downside volatility equally. Though both ratios measure an investment's risk-adjusted return, they do so in significantly different ways that will frequently lead to differing conclusions as to the true nature of the investment's return-generating efficiency. The Sortino ratio is used as a way to compare the risk-adjusted performance of programs with differing risk and return profiles. In general, risk-adjusted returns seek to normalize the risk across programs and then see which has the higher return unit per risk.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- The ratio of annual return and downside deviation over 5 years of Vanguard 500 Index Fund is 0.66, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (0.67) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the downside risk / excess return profile is 0.61, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 0.62 from the benchmark.

'The ulcer index is a stock market risk measure or technical analysis indicator devised by Peter Martin in 1987, and published by him and Byron McCann in their 1989 book The Investors Guide to Fidelity Funds. It's designed as a measure of volatility, but only volatility in the downward direction, i.e. the amount of drawdown or retracement occurring over a period. Other volatility measures like standard deviation treat up and down movement equally, but a trader doesn't mind upward movement, it's the downside that causes stress and stomach ulcers that the index's name suggests.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (6.16 ) in the period of the last 5 years, the Downside risk index of 6.18 of Vanguard 500 Index Fund is larger, thus worse.
- During the last 3 years, the Ulcer Ratio is 6.9 , which is larger, thus worse than the value of 6.87 from the benchmark.

'A maximum drawdown is the maximum loss from a peak to a trough of a portfolio, before a new peak is attained. Maximum Drawdown is an indicator of downside risk over a specified time period. It can be used both as a stand-alone measure or as an input into other metrics such as 'Return over Maximum Drawdown' and the Calmar Ratio. Maximum Drawdown is expressed in percentage terms.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum drop from peak to valley of -33.8 days of Vanguard 500 Index Fund is smaller, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (-33.7 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum drop from peak to valley of -33.8 days is lower, thus worse.

'The Drawdown Duration is the length of any peak to peak period, or the time between new equity highs. The Max Drawdown Duration is the worst (the maximum/longest) amount of time an investment has seen between peaks (equity highs) in days.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (139 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum days under water of 139 days of Vanguard 500 Index Fund is greater, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (119 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum days below previous high of 119 days is larger, thus worse.

'The Average Drawdown Duration is an extension of the Maximum Drawdown. However, this metric does not explain the drawdown in dollars or percentages, rather in days, weeks, or months. The Avg Drawdown Duration is the average amount of time an investment has seen between peaks (equity highs), or in other terms the average of time under water of all drawdowns. So in contrast to the Maximum duration it does not measure only one drawdown event but calculates the average of all.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The average days under water over 5 years of Vanguard 500 Index Fund is 35 days, which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (35 days) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the average days under water is 27 days, which is larger, thus worse than the value of 27 days from the benchmark.

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.
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- Note that yearly returns do not equal the sum of monthly returns due to compounding.
- Performance results of Vanguard 500 Index Fund are hypothetical, do not account for slippage, fees or taxes, and are based on backtesting, which has many inherent limitations, some of which are described in our Terms of Use.